100 blog posts

"Out of the Office" by Marc Swarbrick is licensed under FreeImages.com Content License.
“Out of the Office” by Marc Swarbrick is licensed under FreeImages.com Content License.

I am writing 100 blog posts then posting them every day for 100 days. After that initial thrust, I would like to continue posting on a regular schedule, but I’ve disappointed myself with overpromises before so we’ll just see how it goes.

I started a blog a long time ago, maybe ten years ago. I bought a book on blogging back then. That’s how clueless I was (am): I bought a hardcover book on writing on the internet.

I have never been very cool, tech savvy, or trendy. I’m like an unintentional Luddite. I just don’t get the memos.

(Can someone explain to me how to use tumblr? Because I signed up, and I look through my feed, and none of it is the funny threads that I see on imgur.)

(I’ve been lurking on imgur since 2011. I don’t have an account.)

Anyway, I’ve dipped my toes in the water a bunch of times since then. I had a pretty good run for like six weeks back in 2013 when I was actually posting three times a week. But mostly I just felt like I was wondering around in a pitch-black room where I couldn’t even find the walls.

Right now, I’m also in a dark place, but it’s different. More like a dark woods where I am tripping over roots and running from shadows. I have 35 years behind me and I feel like I have nothing to show for it. None of the things I believed would just happen have happened. None of the stuff I thought I would have figured out by now has been figured out.

I really believe that if you are feeling bad about yourself, the best thing you can do is set yourself some tiny goals and start working toward them. Every time you accomplish something, you get a little boost of confidence. You need that confidence to accomplish bigger goals.

I set myself the goal of reading 100 books this year. I’m doing okay. At the time of writing this post right here, I’m a couple books behind, but I think that’s because I read some pretty epic books in the beginning of the year. A Brief History of Seven Killings was great, but that is a 700-page book.

Working through 100 books has been the first thing I felt like I could be proud of in a long time. Is that sad? I feel like it’s pathetic. But since I haven’t gotten much closer in ten years to my goal of “making a living writing best-selling memoirs” (I was dreaming of my own line of scented candles, y’all), I decided I should start smaller.

Reading the books hasn’t been hard at all. I actually do have free time (DINK here) and I’ve enjoyed it huge. The benefits are unending. And I’ve reclaimed my identity as a bookworm, which I felt I had no right to when I was only reading casually.

And now I’m writing 100 blog posts. I’m trying not to overthink the whole project or any one post in particular. A buddy of mine said you don’t have to be great every day, you just have to be there every day and great sometimes. I’d like to second-guess every sentence of every post I’m writing, but I don’t think that’s how people communicate in the Information Age.

See? I’m learning.

I am also motivated by the idea that if what you’re doing hasn’t been working, then you ought to try something different. I can think of a dozen reasons not to blog, like I’d rather be a short-story writer, etc. But it’s been ten years and I’m not a short-story writer, so maybe I had better try on a different hat.

Anyway, this is the project. This is what I’m doing. I make no promises about how I’ll post after these 100 posts are up, but who knows, maybe something good will come of it. Maybe at least I’ll learn how to not second-guess myself into the ground.


Application for the Crazy Aunt position

By the time this is posted, I might be an aunt. I didn’t realize how awesome it was going to be until my brother’s wife got nearer and nearer her due date, and we had to buy baby shower gifts, and I bought some children’s books at the book fair, and it started to get real. One of us, one of us four dummies who were so close as kids, is about to be a parent. And the rest of us get to be around to share other perspectives on life with that kid, and buy him/her birthday gifts, and tell him/her silly stories about his/her dad as a kid (sorry for the pronoun game, but my brother and his wife opted not to know the gender). We get to be the awesome aunts and uncles that my aunts and uncles were for us, and I’m so excited about the privilege. There’s going to be one more person to share this adventure with, and it’s going to be a much cuter person than any of us are anymore, and s/he’s going to have so much to learn!

All that got me thinking about what kind of aunt I wanted to be, and I really want to be the crazy aunt who shows up every couple of years with really awesome gifts and maybe takes my little niece/nephew to the zoo lets him/her have ice cream for lunch because, shoot, I’m 32 and I’ll have ice cream for lunch sometimes, and how much more awesome is that when you’re like eight? And maybe I’ll forget to ask what time s/he’s “supposed” to go to bed when s/he comes to visit, and I’ll just let him/her stay up late and watch SNL with me and Jeremy. Who knows.

And all that got me thinking about how s/he’s going to have other aunts and uncles playing different roles, and how those roles aren’t set in stone yet because this is the first baby for both sides of the family, and I decided to submit an application for the position of Crazy Aunt. I wrote up a cover letter, and I started to write a resume, but I decided that as much as it would be to mess with my brother’s kid, he and his wife probably wouldn’t want me giving him/her a list of exploits that included dancing on bars in Taiwan, getting into unlicensed cabs, attempting to “run away” at age seven, and all the other inappropriate behavior that counts as “crazy”. So, we’ll save that for later. Here’s the letter, if you’re interested.

crazy aunt letter

And here’s the text:

Dear Baby ——:

I am writing you in regards to the position of Crazy Aunt. I was advised by your parents, —— and ——, that this position will soon be available and they felt I would be an ideal candidate.

I understand that the requirements of the Crazy Aunt position can be quite onerous, but based on my skills and experience as a Crazy Sister, Crazy Teacher, and Crazy Lady, I am confident I can meet your expectations. Not only do I sometimes live in China, but I also have dessert after every meal. I will expect the same from you when you visit. I can sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” at an astounding speed and I have perfected the hand choreography for “Itsy, Bitsy Spider”. In fact, I am only marginally afraid of spiders and I am a big fan of snakes and all other reptiles and amphibians. I also love roller coasters, which is more than I can say for some of your other aunts and uncles.

I am moderately embarrassing in public and prone to engaging in spontaneous karaoke sessions. I like clapping to beats and shaking my behind, which I refer to as my “groove thang”. My favorite pretend microphones include forks, hairbrushes, and other people’s hands. I am unashamed of my “dancing”, whether on the floor, the table, or a sofa (don’t tell your parents). Sometimes I read books while taking walks around the neighborhood. However, I make a point of putting my book down whenever I reach an intersection so as to minimize the chances of my being hit by a negligent driver. “Safety first” is one of my mottos. Another one is “Live Más™”.

This letter alone may not sufficiently convey my qualifications. I understand that you were due to arrive on August 15 and that your arrival has been delayed by your reluctance to vacate your present quarters, but I would sincerely appreciate the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience. I look forward to stealing and eating your nose and teaching you how to swear in a foreign language as soon as you are able.


Aunt Keili Rae

Resume furnished when you reach the age of majority.

PS- It has come to my attention that I may have unintentionally “misspelled” mottos, but that the current spelling is also acceptable, so we’re gonna go ahead and keep it as is.


Chocolate memories

While I was doing some research for The Tabletop Cook, I came across this picture on a list of 25 weird things to eat with chocolate (not giving you that URL because the site seemed shady and there was a really annoying pop-up ad that started talking on that page):

And I’m like 90% sure that’s my photo from my old blog.

The management at my school in Taiwan wouldn’t get me the apples I requested for the candied apples I wanted to make. “Not in season, too expensive!” they said. They bought me cherry tomatoes and chocolate instead…I was frustrated, then I gave up. I didn’t have a back-up plan anyway. We skewered the tomatoes, melted the chocolate, spooned it over the skewers, and the kids devoured it while I just shook my head…

I don’t mind that this picture is getting around, but I think it’s funny that some people now think that chocolate-covered tomato skewers are a thing and not an English class assignment gone wrong.